By LaDonna Swedberg
The Maxwell Wildcats came to town Friday night to do battle with the Wallace Wildcats–a battle that went to the final buzzer.
The game started out pretty evenly in the first quarter. Jose Arvizo had a three-pointer and Landon Swedberg added a couple buckets and a pair of free throws so that Wallace was only down by two, trailing Maxwell 9-11.
Maxwell, however, outscored Wallace in the second quarter by five. They went to the locker room at halftime with a 17–24 lead.
Wallace had a difficult night getting the ball to bounce their way. As many times as they shot from the field, the only baskets that seemed to fall were the ones in the paint and those did not come easy.
In spite of the shooting issues, Wallace continued to right their way back matching Maxwell’s scoring in the third quarter and outscoring them in the fourth.
Josh Grauerholz and Swedberg were big underneath, hitting some key baskets and a number of other players got points when needed.
The Wallace defense played a huge role in the comeback. When the blue and white started pressing, they created a number of turnovers which resulted in quick points.
With just seconds left on the clock, Maxwell got a couple of free throws to put them up by three. Wallace quickly got down the court and Arvizo got a good look at an open three, but the ball rolled the wrong way once again and the Wallace Wildcats lost 46–49.
Saturday the Wildcats traveled to Wauneta for another tough game. Wallace, once again, got off to a slow start, turning the ball over on their first three possessions and the Broncos turned those turnovers into points
Taylor Doell finally got things rolling for the Wildcats when he drained a three. The defense got fired up as well. John Marquardt and Josh Grauerholz both blocked shots to stop the Broncos next two possessions.
Both teams settled down by the second quarter and a lot more points were put on the board.
Wauneta/Palisade got hot from behind the arch putting up three three-pointers. Wallace was finding ways to score in the paint and by making free throws.
Landon Swedberg started the second quarter scoring by driving the baseline. Lane Scott followed that with a three-pointer of his own. Marquardt found himself at the free throw line three different times and he didn’t miss–six points were added to the Wildcat score.
Before the quarter ended, Swedberg, Scott, Grauerholz and Shane Anders all contributed points and the first half ended with the Broncos leading 36-28.
Wauneta/Palisade continued to control the game at the beginning of the third quarter and they led by as many as 15 at one point.
As the game progressed, however, the Wildcats began to claw their way back. Right at the end of the quarter the defense created three turnovers as the Broncos were trying to inbound the ball. By the time the quarter ended, Wallace was only down by four points and they had all the momentum going into the final period.
Doell and Swedberg had spent quite a bit of time on the bench due to foul trouble, so they came out in the fourth quarter rested and ready.
Doell hit two big three-pointers and Swedberg got three buckets in the paint. Anders continued making big plays putting back two rebounds for a quick four points.
The Wildcats had finally taken the lead late in the fourth quarter, but just before the final buzzer, the Broncos’ Jacob Merris banked a three-pointer to send the game into overtime.
The overtime period looked to be decided at the free throw line since there were eight trips to the charity stripe between the two teams. Wallace was only able to come up with five points in their five opportunities.
The Broncos had fewer free throws, but they had a couple of baskets to add to their score. They ended the game with a 73–70 victory over the Wildcats.
In spite of the losses, Wallace did have some positives from the weekend of basketball. The boys played hard through both games and battled their way back after getting down. The Wildcats have also had a number of players contributing big on offense and defense.
Leading scorers for Firday’s game were Swedberg with 17 and Grauerholz with 10.
Four players were in double figures during Saturday’s game. Shane Anders had 11, John Marquardt and Josh Grauerholz each had 12 and Doell and Swedberg each scored 15.
Wallace will host the Sutherland Sailors on Thursday (tonight) Dec. 15.